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Dean Ford


THE POSITION of Dean of the Faculty carries with it an awesome variety of duties; the Dean must supervise the operations of a body whose expenditures currently run to nearly $70 million a year. Allocating these funds, charting the growth of the Faculty, raising funds to further that growth, recruiting able personnel, serving as a link between some 700 Faculty members and the Governing Boards: all these tasks and more, both public and private, fall to the Dean.

Had he retired as recently as a year ago. Franklin I. Ford would have been rightly regarded by virtually all Faculty and students as a superb Dean, as one who had mastered the complexities and burdens of the position. The Faculty thrived during his tenure; its physical and intellectual resources increased; it ventured into new fields of study and began to reassess its educational techniques in established disciplines. Dean Ford guided this progress with his own administrative style: a belief in firm leadership based on fundamental consensus, and working through established channels.

This same administrative style which had served Harvard so well during earlier years proved to have serious deficiencies when confronted with the demands of the past year. The harsh new issues facing the University and the sharp divisions they created among the Faculty made it imperative for that body to begin groping for a new style of leadership-a style better equipped to recognize political realities to accept them, and to mediate them without endangering the essential scholarly functions of a university.

As Dean Ford note in his farewell address, the Faculty debates were often not pleasant to listen to. Yet they were not fundamentally attacks upon either his integrity or his character, but rather clashes over the structure of decision-making the Faculty required in the present era. It was not Faculty members occasional lapses in the heat of debate, but rather their final ovation for Dean Ford, which showed the estimation they and the rest of the Harvard community accord him for his undeniable achievements in an exciting position, and for his qualities as a scholar and as a man.

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